3 Responses to One Year Later

  • A truly Godly man if ever there was one.

  • I wonder, if he is in heaven,if he hasn’t been spending his time influencing the election from that “foreign land”

  • A few years ago, I bought a copy of Scalia Dissents, a collection of Justice
    Scalia’s dissenting Supreme Court decisions. In lesser hands, such a book would be
    likely useful only as a cure for insomnia, but Scalia’s were no such lesser hands. For
    example, on religious freedom, he wrote: “I find it a sufficient embarrassment that
    our Establishment Clause jurisprudence regarding holiday displays has come to
    require scrutiny more commonly associated with interior decorators than with
    the judiciary.”

    And here is his critique of the fashion for legislating from the bench: “Evidently,
    the governing standard is to be what might be called the unfettered wisdom of a
    majority of this Court, revealed to an obedient people on a case-by-case basis.”

    God bless him. His was a magnificent Supreme Court appointment, and he is
    sorely missed.

Artur Rosman Spits on Scalia

Sunday, February 14, AD 2016



Some Patheos “Catholic” hatred was  unleashed against Justice Scalia by blogger Artur Rosman last month:


In other words, Scalia’s nationalist god is an idol, not the Christian God.

You might say that in a pluralistic country like the United States we have no choice but to accept such watered-down idols in order to be free to worship the One True God. But such Migrations of the Holy, as the title of William T. Cavanaugh’s book I cite below calls them, have a price, a very steep price:

The deepest theological danger inherent in American exceptionalism, then, is that of the messiah nation that does not simply seek to follow God’s will, but acts as a kind of substitute god on the state of history. When the concept of chosenness becomes unmoored from the biblical narrative, the danger is that the nation will not only be substitute church but substitute god. When the shrine is emptied of the biblical God and replaced with the generic principle of transcendence, the danger is that we will not come to worship God but will worship our freedom to worship God. The empty shrine is surreptitiously filled. Our freedom itself becomes an idol, the one thing we will kill and die for.

Yes, what if, as some Americans like to say, “Freedom isn’t free?”

In the end, the cost of discipleship is going to be high, whether you end up serving the Prince of Peace in the Ecclesia Militans, or the American military  and America’s ruling markets.

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6 Responses to Artur Rosman Spits on Scalia

  • Who actually reads Patheos? Is it just a liberal ghetto? What does “American Exceptionalism” have to do with the work Scalia actually did, which was to interpret a document according to an originalist philosophy? If anyone worships the Messiah State is it liberals who suck at Artur Rosmans teats when the want to feel Catholic for a few minutes. St. Corbinian forbade the Bear from harming men. But sometimes he wishes he could just gently hold their heads in his jaws for a couple of minutes, just as a joke.

  • “But sometimes he wishes he could just gently hold their heads in his jaws for a couple of minutes, just as a joke.”

    Comment of the week my bruin friend! Take ‘er away Sam!


  • With the known exception of the larryd, there must be something in the water at Patheos that makes Catholics who have blogs there go full retard. A well known Catholic apologist who just moved to Patheos recently posted a snarky attack on Hillary White, the noted pro-life commentator. He called her a Catholic reactionary. Apparently, he didn’t like the fact she had a few choice words for Pope Francis. It must be a rite of passage at Patheos that you have to attack someone who is not a Francis fan or isn’t in love with Catholic traditions.

  • Correction:I meant to say “or who’s in love with Catholic traditions.”

  • Jonah Goldberg quoted at Instapundit, “If Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution held sway in the land, the Court and the government would have much less power over our lives. And that, more than anything else, explains why the left hated him so much.”

    This “American exceptionalism” is simply one of the many calumnies leftists masquerading as Catholics fling at real Catholics that don’t hate America and our way of life.

  • The only time I stumble into Patheteos is when following a link from Pewsitter. I then feel a little bit guilt that my “hit” might be counted by their webmaster and that a higher readership is inferred.

Scalia’s Greatest Hits

Sunday, February 14, AD 2016



Most judicial writing is so bad, riddled with jargon and bloviation, that only people paid to do so would ever bother to read it.  The late Justice Antonin Scalia was the exception to this rule.  His writing was vibrant, free from both cant and jargon, and often extremely amusing.  Bruce T. Murray at Sage Law.US has compiled some of Justice Scalia’s greatest hits:

“Those who wish to create indecent and disrespectful art are as unconstrained now as they were before the enactment of this statute. Avant-garde artistes such as respondents remain entirely free to épater les bourgeois; they are merely deprived of the additional satisfaction of having the bourgeoisie taxed to pay for it. It is preposterous to equate the denial of taxpayer subsidy with measures aimed at the suppression of dangerous ideas.”
National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, 525 U.S. 569 (1998) (Scalia, J., concurring)

“All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women – not, for example, of trees or polar bears.”
Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310, 391-392 (2010)

“If forbidding peaceful, nonthreatening, but uninvited speech from a distance closer than eight feet is a ‘narrowly tailored’ means of preventing the obstruction of entrance to medical facilities (the governmental interest the State asserts), narrow tailoring must refer not to the standards of Versace, but to those of Omar the Tentmaker.
Hill v. Colo., 530 U.S. 703, 749 (2000)

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10 Responses to Scalia’s Greatest Hits

  • What a GREAT loss to Americans.
    At Mass a candle and portion of my communion for his soul.

    God will be victorious. America? Who knows the future of America? God will win. Stay close to God.

  • Several years ago, many of Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinions were published
    in a collection titled, appropriately enough, Scalia Dissents. While such a
    collection might be deadly dull in other hands, Scalia’s writings are incisive,
    riveting and quite witty. I just checked Amazon, and copies are available.
    Just sayin’.

  • I see the lilly white liberal progressives are calling for the death of Clarence Thomas, the only black on the bench? Why isn’t that racist? And why is condemnation of Barack Hussein Obama deemed racist?

  • In the video, it is amazing how the interviewer keeps trying to change the philosophical disagreement between Ginsberg and Scalia into a personal disagreement. Yeesh.

  • That was a funny bit since Ginsberg and Scalia were close friends.

  • Truly what a Supreme Court should be,he never succumbed to the hubris that seduces smaller minds

  • A weird thought. As the years go by, I become less and less impressed by people who can turn a phrase. It may be the effect of the internet. There are so many people who can be witty without having substance in their thoughts. I should be used to it by now, but it still surprises me. I love the clarity of Justice Scalia’s opinions. That’s where their beauty lies. It’s going to be the quality of his reasoning that, God willing, will make even his dissents more influential than others’ majority opinions in the next hundred years.

  • Gosh Pinky I think I most often agree with you, but I have to disagree with you about people who can “turn a phrase”… I think of G K Chesterton and others. A pithy phrase does often show depth of thought though is sometimes missed perhaps Because it is so quick and apparently (only apparently) simple.

  • Pingback: RIP Justice Antonin Scalia | Ty J. Young Inc.
  • What a horrible interview by CBS. It was so negative and dark. Rather than getting to know Justice Scalia and his thoughts, everything was framed as “Justice Scalia, you’re a jerk. Explain yourself.”

The Supreme Court: A Danger to American Democracy

Friday, June 26, AD 2015


All of Justice Antonin Scalia’s judicial opinions tend to be memorable, but I think his dissent in OBERGEFELL v. HODGES will perhaps be his most cited opinion in what I expect to be a dangerous time for the American Republic over the next few decades.  Here are quotes from his dissent to remember:

1.  It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me.  Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. 

2.  This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

3.   Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect.

4.  This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.  Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.

5.   The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation. 

6.  But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.  The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds— minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly— could not.

7.  These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

8.  The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational popphilosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.

9. Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall.  The Judiciary is the “least dangerous” of the federal branches because it has “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm” and the States, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.”  With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.

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33 Responses to The Supreme Court: A Danger to American Democracy

  • You left out the best part in footnote 22: “If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

  • Roberts’ two Obamacare decisions accelerated the post constitutional era. After those decisions it became apparent that henceforth the constitution could be treated as yesterday’s news. Scalia captures the urgency of the moment and something which has nothing to do with the merits of the issue. Federalism is dead. Freedom of political speech….dead. Freedom in the exercise of religion….dead. The second act of the post constitutional era starts now and it will be ugly. There are the obvious things like church tax status, mandated school gender curriculum, etc, but there is the 5 to 10 year wave of assaults such as shutting down this website and others over “hate speech”. You must understand this is not about homosexuals, but about the 100 year progressive war against the restraints on government power once expressed in the Constitution. Next up…..the final assault on the family.

  • Since performing gay marriage ceremonies BEFORE the decision didn’t require Justices Ginsberg & Kagan to recuse themselves in this case will someone, please, invite Justice Scalia to keynote the next Pro-Life conference? He’s a great speaker, and no conflict of interest would exist.

  • “I would hide my head in a bag.”

    Quite right David. That is one for the ages.

  • Within the past 5 minutes a small statue within our house of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for no apparent cause, fell and broke in two.

  • Donald—you blogged about the juvenile reaction by corporatist to the Conferate battle flag. Watch next what happens in Hollywood and the business world. Some of this takes place now but it will be far worse

    Signed pledges upholding homosexual or gender diversity
    Corporate retailers restricting business with churches
    Unmitigated Hollywood attacks and refusal by investors to finance faith based movies
    Government contractors will be required to have homosexual happy talks
    The litigation business will flourish with the grievances of homosexualists…..and woe be to the litigation lawyer who refuses to undertake representation for claims of homosexual grievances

    The imagination for attack on those churches which refuse to submit will know no bounds. And unlike abortion, speech against the homosexual agenda can be targeted regardless of Kennedy’s weak deference to what he described as acceptable religious “advocacy”. When you read Kennedy’s Windsor opininoin on DOMA the outcome of the fight between religious freedom vs homosexual “marriage” is beyond worrisome…..almost foregone.

  • Oh, I think the Homosexual Movement has its high tide today, just as the pro-abort movement had it with Roe. The decision today by the Court I believe will re-energize social conservatives. We shall see.

    Oh, and Apple, hit by a lot of negative publicity, is beginning to walk back its ban:


    Social conservatives have to realize that we are in a long term fight and fight smart. For those who support traditional marriage, lessons learned in the long fight against abortion are instructive. Above all let us be of good cheer, and go happily about our task. God placed us in this time for a purpose, and we must not disappoint Him by being downcast and fearful. Let gloom and despair be present only among the Devil and his disciples!

  • Thanks. I needed a foxhole slap in the head. Tough two weeks.

  • The danger of SCOTUS to the Republic has existed since the Dred Scott decision. When it counts, SCOTUS can be depended on to decide wrong.

  • Clearly the republic that is the US is not working [I have concluded for some time now that it couldn’t because it was flawed from its very inception]. If there was any republic that looked like it would it was the US, my question then is if there is any man-made republic that can work.

  • Face it. We r a post constitutional country. Self gov’t died with the SCOTUScare ruling where the majority of SCOTUS let us know that it didn’t matter WHAT we wrote into our laws–that 5 lawyers on that court wud be telling over 300 million of us how we will live–under the coercive force of govt. I hope we don’t end up in another civil war–but I seriously expect it.

  • “Lincoln’s rejection of the Dred Scott decision’s account of congressional authority was not intended as a mere theoretical exercise. His aim was not to see his counter-argument published in a learned journal. Rather, he made this rejection the basis of proposed political resistance to the Court’s overreaching…Just as the Taney Court told Americans in the 1850s that they were not permitted to govern themselves on the slavery issue, so today Justice Kennedy and his liberal collaborators on the Court are presuming to tell the present generation of Americans that they have no right to self-government on the question of defining marriage. That weighty question, they are telling us, will be decided by our betters—that is, by them.”


  • “Yet at the heart of the Civil War, the crisis that triggered it, and the changes that it brought were enormous constitutional issues. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the Civil War was fought over the meaning of the Constitution, and over who would have the ultimate power to decide that meaning. The Civil War decided—on the battlefields rather than in the courts—the most important constitutional questions in our nation’s history: the nature of the Union under the Constitution, the status and future of slavery, the powers of the national government versus the states, the supremacy of the Constitution, and the wartime powers of the president as commander in chief. It was the Civil War, not any subsequent judicial decision, that “overruled” the Supreme Court’s atrocious decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford creating a national constitutional right to own slaves.”


  • “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man thanthat which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” –Thomas Jefferson to New
    London Methodist, 1809.

  • TX Gov Abbott is showing the rest if them up. I know my gov locales in comparison to him at this point of the game.


  • “Clearly the republic that is the US is not working [I have concluded for some time now that it couldn’t because it was flawed from its very inception]. If there was any republic that looked like it would it was the US, my question then is if there is any man-made republic that can work.”

    Our republic works just fine when it is tried…the 3 branches do their jobs…citizens do their part– greed, power, ambition, lack of the application of moral, lack of the citizenry paying attention, etc have all damaged the function of our republic until it has died a slow gasping death.

    Thomas Jefferson forsake this very type of Judicial tyranny & Abe Lincoln defined it for us as well.

    It seems to be the very sin nature of man that has brought our republic down.


    Abe Lincoln predicted that a court that was allowed to legislate from the bench would lead to tyranny in his 1st Inaugural address.

    “If the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

    In the article below, it is argued that an improper/weak response of the other 2 branches of govt to activist courts is the cause of the republic’s downfall. I think that point has great validity. like pastors hiding behind their tax exempt status to avoid controversy and needed confrontation with the culture, politicians have often hid behind a court ruling out of weakness & to avoid taking full responsibility for the authority given them under the law. It really is easier, at least on the front end, to let others be responsible for the tough calls of freedom.


    John Adams said the following: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

    Benjamin Franklin is often having indicated that our republic would endure until the people started voting themselves other people’s money.

    I, personally, believe the failures/destruction of the family and the failure of common k-12 education due to federal meddling are enough over time to bring us down.

    We are literally dealing with all of these issues and more–at the same time.

  • Judicial activism has been a threat to American liberty for decades. It started long before Roberts was named Chief Justice.

    I am almost 52. I remember the court-ordered school desegregation cases in the 1970s as I was in school myself then. There were riots in Boston. One city after another lost school desegregation cases, followed by court-ordered busing of schoolkids across cities. Massive middle class flight ensued. Busing was a failure.

    Roe v Wade was ruled under false pretense. There was the Kelo decision empowering government to seize private property.

    Kennedy, the dimwitted intellectual lightweight that he is, has taken it upon himself to legitimize everything about homosexuality. There was the Texas sodomy decision and now this.

  • If what you really want is a democracy, try the British system:-
    1) The fundamental principle is that Parliament (the Legislative branch) can make and unmake any law whatsoever.
    2) The Cabinet (the Executive branch) is a committee of the Legislature that the Lower House can dismiss at pleasure by a vote of no confidence.
    3) In the event of a vote of no confidence, or if the Legislature will not pass his measures, the Prime Minister (the head of the Executive) can” go to the country,” that is, call a general election and invite the voters to return members who will back him, which the voters may or may not do.
    The “checks and balances” are provided by the Executive’s fear of losing its majority and the individual members’ fear of losing their seats in a snap election.

  • That’s not gonna happen here, Mr. Paterson-Seymour.

  • Five black-robed nitwits think they have authority to reverse 25,000 years of human biology, culture, and society.
    The SC effectively ruled that a dog’s tail is a leg. However, the mongrel still has only four legs.
    Yesterday, the idiots consigned themselves to irrelevancy. I no longer consent to be ruled.
    And, America have fully entered the post-Constitution era and it will not be pretty.

  • Penguins Fan wrote, “That’s not gonna happen here, Mr. Paterson-Seymour.”
    I know.
    For historical reasons, to an American, freedom primarily means being free from interference, especially government interference and a strong government is feared as a threat to freedom.
    Europeans, by contrast, see government action as the consummated result of their own organized wishes. Of course, Europeans can be very readily persuaded that self-serving deputies are betraying the people’s mandate, in the service of special interests; in fact, the political class is held in great contempt. Nevertheless, no one believes that curbing the powers of government is desirable, or even imaginable: the government is the appointee and agent of the people; to curb the government’s powers is to curb their own.

  • The ACLU quietly announced that it would no longer support religious freedom. The DOJ is questioning whether Church’s that disagree or do not support homosexuality should keep their Tax Exemption. The Quisling, Ted Olson will now focus on having the Bible proclaimed hate speech as they have in parts of Canada. And with very little fan fare the liberals in congress will force through legislation lowering the age of consent to 12 years old.
    “Liberalism is the transformation of mankind into cattle”

  • Since the Supreme Court has become merely a political body that talks about law–politicians with robes for credibility—I suggest we do away with it, as we already have politicians ignoring law in our other bodies of government.
    For this we had a revolution?
    Long live the king!

  • The Legislature surrenders its prerogative to the Executive who acts in its stead, while the Supreme Court usurps the prerogative of the Supreme Being. What could go wrong?

  • There is more defeatism here than on the designated defeatism thread!
    I am glad there is some love expressed for mystical aphorisms. I must admit it as a new favorite of mine.

    I for one would like to get a notebook and write down all of the predictions made here and see how many end up coming true. That will be the point for agony and despair.

  • @Barbara Gordon: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.

  • Our federal government, and many of our state governments, are losing more and more legitimacy. We are not bound to obey an unjust law. My question is how far are we obligated to obey an illegitimate government? It seems that in some cases we must do so only insofar as they have a partial measure of legitimacy and rule justly. In other cases we would be required to resist an illegitimate government to the full extent we are able to, as happened during the Cristero War in Mexico. I think we are at the first point right now. We can safely just ignore the government on those points where it violates morality and justice. Unfortunately, the government is moving to the point where we may need to find a little bit of Cristero in all of us. I pray it doesn’t reach that point.

  • If possible, emigrate to a fiscally-solvent red state with a limited, rational state government.

    Feign obedience and covertly resist in every possible way.
    The national regime is post-Constitutional. It has usurped far too much power. All three branches of the Federal government are bat-crap crazy/stupid. Everything they touch will be wrecked.
    You need to plan and prepare for the “zombie” apocalypse, which by comparison will make look like Eden the Great Depression and post-WWII Germany and Japan. There will be no Marshall Plan.

  • I suggest we do away with it, as we already have politicians ignoring law in our other bodies of government.

    It’s quite simple. Within the law, the Congress determines the jurisdictions of the courts. From now on the troublesome appellate courts will each have as their jurisdiction one square yard in the middle of Sunset Blvd. Within the law, the courts do not operate without appropriations. Staff, what staff Mr. Justice Roberts? No staff, plant, or equipment. Within the law, they all get paid in potatoes once a year. Not within the law (but they cannot complain without being laughed at), they’re all declared in a state of bad behavior by a joint resolution of Congress and exiled via bill of attainder to Argentina. Of course, the Republican caucus in Congress would never have the cojones to do any of this.

  • Our federal government, and many of our state governments, are losing more and more legitimacy

    Yes. Never in my lifetime (and, I think it might be said) not for a verrry long time has public life been so suffused with humbug. I doubt an honest word is ever uttered anymore outside of odd little corners like this one and the object of the opposition is not persuasion but humiliation to render the resistant complicit. It is all coming to a head when this country needs our most capable and prudent men in charge and the men in charge are vain fools like Anthony Kennedy and crudniks like John Koskinen.

  • in fact, the political class is held in great contempt. Nevertheless, no one believes that curbing the powers of government is desirable, or even imaginable: the government is the appointee and agent of the people; to curb the government’s powers is to curb their own.

    And your point is what, that Europe is populated with people who cannot recognize a logical contradiction?

October 12, 1864: Death of Roger B. Taney

Sunday, October 12, AD 2014

Roger Taney

Death came for Chief Justice Roger B. Taney of the United States Supreme Court 150 years ago.  Nominated as Chief Justice by his friend President Andrew Jackson and had sat on the court for 28 years.  Although he had authored many important decisions, he is remembered today only for one:  Dred Scott.  87 years old at the time of his death, Taney, a slave owner, had mirrored the tragic trajectory of the views of the South in regard to slavery in his own life.  As a young man he regarded slavery as a blot on our national character, as he said in his opening argument in defense of a Methodist minister accused in 1819 of inciting slave insurrections.  He emancipated his own slaves.  However, by the time he authored the Dred Scott decision in 1857 he would write:

It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted; but the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.

Taney thought that the decision in Dred Scott would settle the slavery issue in regard to the territories and remove it from politics.  Instead the decision inflamed public opinion North and South and manifestly helped bring on the Civil War.  Taney lived to see his nation riven by Civil War and an administration in power dedicated to restoring the Union and abolishing slavery, and more than willing to ignore the paper edicts of Taney’s court when necessary.  Old and sick, Taney remained on the bench,  unwilling to have Lincoln name his successor, a living relic of a bygone era.  The best epitaph for Taney I have ever read was that given by Justice Antonin Scalia in his magnificent dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

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15 Responses to October 12, 1864: Death of Roger B. Taney

  • “It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence…” Taney, CJ

    The learned judge might have learned the views of the “civilized and enlightened portions of the world” less than twenty years after the Declaration of Independence from the decree of 16 Pluviôse An II (4 February 1794) “The National Convention declares the slavery of Negros to be abolished in all the colonies; in consequence, it decerns that everyone, without distinction of colour, domiciled in the colonies are French citizens and shall enjoy all the rights assured by the Constitution.”

    Hilaire Belloc has described the conviction that animated the Convention, perhaps the most “civilised and enlightened” body ever assembled in Europe – “The scorn which was in those days universally felt for that pride which associates itself with things not inherent to a man (notably and most absurdly with capricious differences of wealth) never ran higher; and the passionate sense of justice which springs from this profound and fundamental social dogma of equality, as it moved France during the Revolution to frenzy, so also moved it to creation.
    Those who ask how it was that a group of men sustaining all the weight of civil conflict within and of universal war without, yet made time enough in twenty years to frame the codes which govern modern Europe, to lay down the foundations of universal education, of a strictly impersonal scheme of administration, and even in detail to remodel the material face of society—in a word, to make modern Europe—must be content for their reply to learn that the Republican Energy had for its flame and excitant this vision: a sense almost physical of the equality of man.”
    Nowhere was this better exemplified than in the Décret du 16 Pluviôse An II

  • Of course Napoleon reinstituted slavery:


    As a matter of historical fact, Abraham Lincoln was correct in his statement that Judge Taney was incorrect in his assumption that the view of the negro was more favorable in 1857 than in 1776 in America:

    “In these the Chief Justice does not directly assert, but plainly assumes, as a fact, that the public estimate of the black man is more favorable now than it was in the days of the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake. In some trifling particulars, the condition of that race has been ameliorated; but, as a whole, in this country, the change between then and now is decidedly the other way; and their ultimate destiny has never appeared so hopeless as in the last three or four years. In two of the five States-New Jersey and North Carolina-that then gave the free negro the right of voting, the right has since been taken away; and in a third-New York-it has been greatly abridged; while it has not been extended, so far as I know, to a single additional State, though the number of the States has more than doubled. In those days, as I understand, masters could, at their own pleasure, emancipate their slaves; but since then, such legal restraints have been made upon emancipation, as to amount almost to prohibition. In those days, Legislatures held the unquestioned power to abolish slavery in their respective States; but now it is becoming quite fashionable for State Constitutions to withhold that power from the Legislatures. In those days, by common consent, the spread of the black man’s bondage to new countries was prohibited; but now, Congress decides that it will not continue the prohibition, and the Supreme Court decides that it could not if it would. In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. All the powers of earth seem rapidly combining against him. Mammon is after him; ambition follows, and philosophy follows, and the Theology of the day is fast joining the cry. They have him in his prison house; they have searched his person, and left no prying instrument with him. One after another they have closed the heavy iron doors upon him, and now they have him, as it were, bolted in with a lock of a hundred keys, which can never be unlocked without the concurrence of every key; the keys in the hands of a hundred different men, and they scattered to a hundred different and distant places; and they stand musing as to what invention, in all the dominions of mind and matter, can be produced to make the impossibility of his escape more complete than it is.

    It is grossly incorrect to say or assume, that the public estimate of the negro is more favorable now than it was at the origin of the government.”

  • Donald R McClarey

    I can well believe American views in 1776 were much closer to those of France in 1792 than the opinions prevailing in America in 1857.

    The writingss of Darwin and Galton in Britain and Gobineau in France certainly exercised a malign influence on the racial question, by suggesting that cultural diferences were genetically determined.

    Even Napoléon never sought to re-enslave those actually emacipated by the Décret du 16 Pluviôse An II, or to deny the right of citizenship on the grounds of colour. After the revolt in Haiti, he retained slavery in those colonies where the Decree had never been enforced, largely, one suspects as a measure of police.

  • “Even Napoléon never sought to re-enslave those actually emacipated by the Décret du 16 Pluviôse An II, or to deny the right of citizenship on the grounds of colour.”

    Oh, I think Napoleon intended to reinstitute slavery in Haiti. Only military defeat, largely caused by Yellow Fever, thwarted his plan. As it was, the French would not recognize Haitian independence for several decades.

  • call[ing] the contending sides of national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.”

    I think this was the intent of the majority in “Plessey v Ferguson.”

    A court by it’s nature is decides rather narrow questions of fact and law not bring end to national divisions with several contending sides. It often causes more harm than the original problem.

  • As I get it justice Taney saw the slave as property, not a person.
    In Omaha In 1879, Standing Bear, Ponca chief, was incarcerated at ft Crook for going home to the Ponca area in Nebraska from the forced move to Oklahoma (to bury his son who had died along with many others of sickness and hunger. He testified for himself very well. He had the support of local journalist Tom Tibbels and changing public opinion. Judge Elmer S. Dundy ruled that “an Indian is a person”

    Taney was the first Catholic to be in his position. I wonder now how well out current Catholic jurists will acquit themselves in history.

  • By the time Taney presided over and issued Dred Scott, the Holy See had issued numerous condemnations of slavery and the slave trade. Most notable among them was the 1839 apostolic letter of Pope Gregory XVI, “In Supremo Apostolatus”, which concludes: “We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.”

    However, the American bishops by and large interpreted (at least publicly) In Supremo as referring only to “unjust” slave TRADE, and not to the institution of slavery itself. They did this for a number of reasons which I won’t get into here. Still, I have to wonder if anyone, at the time, ever seriously suggested that Chief Justice Taney be excommunicated for his role in Dred Scott, the way some pro-life Catholics (IIRC) called for Justice William Brennan’s excommunication for his role in Roe v. Wade?

  • Taney could have recused himself.

  • “In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it.”
    When “We, the people” were all beasts of burden to England, every person understood the meaning of slavery and The Declaration of Independence.
    Justice, as the office and title suggests is the personification of God’s perfect and absolute Justice and Truth. Anyone who differs from the absolute Truth differs from absolute Justice and loses his office and title of Justice, personally excommunicating him/herself. Recussing oneself is a petition for wisdom to be granted by God.
    “There is no heaven, there is no hell”, simply means that “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” “Do unto others as you would be done unto”.
    Taney’s epitaph reads: “Here lies a man who was only three quarters human.” Brennan and Blackmun have been aborted 60 million times. Hitler has been sent to the gas chamber 6 million times making Hitler’s eternal life a little better, except for the fallen soldiers who laid down their lives for freedom. The atheist spends his life pursuing the eradication of Truth and when the atheist dies he gets what he pursued, that is, nothing. How will souls recognize the Truth? Excommunication would have been a blessing.

  • Elaine Krewer

    Exodus 21:16 is quite explicit in its condemnation of the plagiarist or man-stealer: “Whoever kidnaps a person, whether he has sold him or whether the victim is still in his possession, is certainly to be put to death”

    By the Roman law, likewise, a person became a slave only through capture in war or birth from a slave mother (D 1. 5. 5. 1. & seq) A free person was “res extra commercium” and any sale of a free person was void (J 3.23.5), including foundlings. No one could sell himself into slavery, but the praetor might refuse an action to someone who agreed to let themselves be sold to an unwitting buyer (Dig. 40, 12, 7 pr); that, however, only affected the remedy, not the right and s/he was legally free.

    A slave legally emancipated became a Roman citizen. Servius Tullius, the 6th king of Rome is sad to have been a slave in the household of his predecessor, Tarquinius Priscus; true or false, the legend illustrates the Roman attitude to slavery and manumission.

    The numerous papal condemnations of the enslavement of native peoples and of the slave trade (which was simply organized plagium) would have been applauded by the Roman jurists and the prophets of Israel, none of whom rejected slavery in principle.

  • Anzlyne: “Taney was the first Catholic to be in his position. I wonder now how well out(sic) current Catholic jurists will acquit themselves in history.”
    Antonin Scalia has publicly called for all individuals (since a human being needs only to exist as a member of the human species: “Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Suarez) to be tried under constitutional due process of law. Due process of law would require that the newly begotten individual human being be found guilty of causing the imminent death of his mother, the mother whom he endowed with motherhood and as a parent; as he has brought forth the fatherhood of his father.
    Roe v. Wade required that the “sovereign personhood” of the newly begotten individual human being be proved in a court of law to be granted constitutional protection and rights. Our Constitutional posterity are inscribed in the Preamble as recipients of due process of law. At the least, Roe v. Wade was to grant the benefit of a doubt. Therefore, it might be said that Brennan and Blackmun without a doubt are indeed in hell. 60 million souls, and counting, are waiting for Justice.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour: “The numerous papal condemnations of the enslavement of native peoples and of the slave trade (which was simply organized plagium) would have been applauded by the Roman jurists and the prophets of Israel, none of whom rejected slavery in principle.”
    Applauding the freedom of free men, as always, rejects slavery in principle. It cannot be both ways at the same time. It is the law of non-contradiction, and I am late for Mass.

  • “it might be said that Brennan and Blackmun without a doubt are indeed in hell.”

    I hope you don’t mean that literally. The Church does not ever declare a particular soul to be damned (not even Judas Iscariot, Nero, or Hitler) with the same degree of certainty that she declares a soul to be saved (via the beatification/canonization process).

    In fact it’s always been my understanding that it is wrong for ANY Catholic to state definitively that any particular deceased individual is in hell, since we have no way of knowing for certain what went through their mind in their last moments, or what was going on in their mind or soul when they committed their sins. Yes, one can agree that their souls were in grave danger and that they very well COULD have been damned barring some kind of miracle or condition known only to God, but to state flatly “X is certainly in hell”, or worse yet, to hope or desire that “X is in hell” is wrong. This is not a new idea, by the way; I have seen this principle explained in books that predate Vatican II by quite a few years. So I prefer not to speculate in any way upon the eternal condition of Justices Taney, Brennan, etc.

Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Tuesday, February 4, AD 2014

In times of war the laws fall silent.  That is from the Latin maxim Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges.  A  study of history reveals just how true that is, and Justice Scalia reminds us of that fact:

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japa­nese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn’t be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict.

Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Kore­ma­tsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hira­ba­ya­shi and Fred Kore­ma­tsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.

“Well, of course, Kore­ma­tsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session.

Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”

“That’s what was going on — the panic about the war and the invasion of the Pacific and whatnot. That’s what happens. It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war. It’s no justification but it is the reality,” he said.

Avi Soifer, the law school’s dean, said he believed Scalia was suggesting people always have to be vigilant and that the law alone can’t be trusted to provide protection.

Go here to read the rest.

Internment camps were set up after Pearl Harbor during the invasion scare.  Several thousand Italian-Americans and eleven thousand German Americans were interned during the war, but these were individuals who were picked up because investigations indicated that they could be a domestic threat.  The west coast  Japanese were simply scooped up with no individual investigations.  J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, opposed the internment of the Japanese, regarding it as completely unnecessary, but his views sadly were ignored.  About 120,000 Japanese -Americans were interned during the war, the vast majority loyal Americans.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the internment in the case of Korematsu v. United States.  The vote was 6-3.  Six out of the eight Supreme Court Justices appointed by FDR voted to affirm the constitutionality of the internment.  The lone Republican on the court, Justice Owen Roberts, wrote a dissent which deserves to be remembered.  It begins simply and directly:

I dissent, because I think the indisputable facts exhibit a clear violation of Constitutional rights.

This is not a case of keeping people off the streets at night as was Kiyoshi Hirabayashi v. United States,  320  U.S. 81, 63 S.Ct. 1375,  [323  U.S. 214, 226] nor a case of temporary exclusion of a citizen from an area for his own safety or that of the community, nor a case of offering him an opportunity to go temporarily out of an area where his presence might cause danger to himself or to his fellows. On the contrary, it is the case of convicting a citizen as a punishment for not submitting to imprisonment in a concentration camp, based on his ancestry, and solely because of his ancestry, without evidence or inquiry concerning his loyalty and good disposition towards the United States. If this be a correct statement of the facts disclosed by this record, and facts of which we take judicial notice, I need hardly labor the conclusion that Constitutional rights have been violated.

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6 Responses to Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

  • Liberty like Salvation itself demands perpetual vigilance

  • Obama’s (IRS war on the right, Obamacare WH “amendments”, executive orders, war on coal, etc.) applying that maxim in the class war.

  • Yet one more of many examples of why Justice Scalia has a permanent place in the top five of my personal list of people I’d love to have to dinner. Thanks for posting this.

  • When Justice Scalia arrives in heaven, I suspect that the Founding Fathers will collectively thank him for his integrity and inform him “Job Well Done”.

  • slainte: “When Justice Scalia arrives in heaven, I suspect that the Founding Fathers will collectively thank him for his integrity and inform him “Job Well Done””.
    I am thinking the same.
    In the matter of banning capital punishment:The state cannot ban capital punishment for capital homicide because the state does not own the victim nor does the state own the murderer. It is what it is.

  • “The state cannot ban capital punishment for capital homicide because the state does not own the victim nor does the state own the murderer. It is what it is.”

    By the same logic, the state in Roe versus Wade cannot approve, allow, or stand idly by when an innocent sovereign person’s life is threatened with destruction through abortion.
    A whole new human being comes into existence at fertilization. Science has discovered the unique DNA of every individual, not a part of the mother’s body, nor a disorganized clump of human cells but a growing baby in the womb, a sovereign person.
    Roe versus Wade in whatever capacity does not own the newly created individual of a rational nature, St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of a human person. Nor does the mother or the father, or the physician with the mother, nor the state, own this person. The soul is sovereign.
    The newly begotten sovereign person in the womb constitutes our nation from the very first moment of his existence. If the state gives or allows the child to be aborted, the state violates the child’s right to life.

One of Our Black Robed Masters at Work

Friday, June 3, AD 2011

Fred Biery, a Bill Clinton appointee, is a Federal District Judge down in Texas.  In order to satisfy two village atheist parents of a student who contend that their 18 year old “child” will be irreparably damaged if any prayer escapes any lips during his high school commencement ceremony, Biery has banned all prayer at the high school commencement of the Medina Valley Independent School District on Saturday.  This includes the Judge censoring the speech of the valedictorian of the graduating class, Angela Hildebrand, a Catholic, who wished to say a prayer in her speech.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including “prayer” and “amen.”

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday’s graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the school district is in the process of appealing the ruling, and his office has agreed to file a brief in their support.

“Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio. “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”

Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program.

“These terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks,’” the judge’s order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, “in [a deity’s name] we pray.”

Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”

The Texas attorney general called the ruling unconstitutional and a blatant attack from those who do not believe in God — “attempts by atheists and agnostics to use courts to eliminate from the public landscape any and all references to God whatsoever.”

“This is the challenge we are dealing with here,” he said. “(It’s) an ongoing attempt to purge God from the public setting while at the same time demanding from the courts an increased yielding to all things atheist and agnostic.”

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9 Responses to One of Our Black Robed Masters at Work

  • Outside of maybe a blow to their little egos, I’m curious as to what “irreparable harm” the atheists think they will come to if someone prays. Will their heads explode? Are they afraid of being smitten? Maybe the roof caving in on them? Breaking out in hives?

  • Presumably Mandy the irreparable harm is exposure to a point of view they don’t agree with, something the educational process of course normally does as a matter of course.

  • Like Scalia, I think commencement prayers that are part of the official agenda are not offensive to the establishment clause, but I acknowledge that a contrary position is not unreasonable. But a restriction against a voluntary invocation by a valedictorian is indefensible.

  • Wouldn’t it be grand if the students, en masse and led by the Valedictorian, prayed the Our Father? Loudly, reverently.

  • There is nothing new under the Sun.

    Reminds of English attempts to do away with irish Irishness.

    An old ditty:

    Oh, Paddy, dear, an’ did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?
    The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground!
    No more St. Patrick’s Day we’ll keep, his colour can’t be seen,
    For there’s a cruel law agin’ the Wearin’ o’ the green.
    ~Author Unknown

    Living, breathing zombie constitution . . .

    “We have buried the putrid corpse of Liberty.” Mussolini, 1937.

  • “Wouldn’t it be grand if the students, en masse and led by the Valedictorian, prayed the Our Father? Loudly, reverently.”

    That is precisely what is needed G-Veg. Let the judge then do his worst. I doubt if even he would think that he could lock up parents and students who are not parties to the suit for contempt, but with this judge I would not make any bets. If he were foolish enough to do that, I can imagine that the outcry would be immense.

  • “A Living Document”.

    We have the same idiocy over here.
    Back around 2001 our then Attorney General, an ex-communist member of our then Labour government, Margaret Wilson, proclaimed the “Treaty of Waitangi” – the treaty between the British crown, white settlers and the Maori chiefs of NZ – a “Living Document”.

    So what happened?
    Radical maori started claiming the radio and TV air waves, all oil and mineral rescources, fishing rights to our 200 mile territorial limit – all sorts of crazy things that never existed back in 1840 when the treaty was signed.
    I think it would be a reasonable thing to re-introduce firing squads to resolve this sort of treasonous behaviour. (well – almost)

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